Thankfully, they changed it...


Would a Star Wars film by any other name still be as sweet? Probably, so no mater what Episode VII wound up being called, it would still be raking in money hand over fist at the box office right now. But before it was known to the world as The Force Awakens, the latest Star Wars film had a very different title.

It was Pablo Hidalgo, the Creative Executive for the Lucasfilm Story Group, who revealed this bit of trivia yesterday in a twitter exchange with Jedi News editor Justin LaSalata.

For those who didn’t follow the old Star Wars Extended Universe too closely, Shadows OF The Empire was the 1999 novel that spearheaded a storytelling experiment that was set in the time between The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. Steve Perry’s novel (no not the guy from ’70s rock group Journey) tells the dual story of Darth Vader attempting to track down Luke Skywalker, while Luke, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian work to find out where bounty hunter Boba Fett has taken the carbonite-encased Han Solo. The story was also supported by a comics series, a video game, some new action figures and a soundtrack.

shadows-of-the-empireQuite frankly, although many fans seemed to have liked it when it was released, I didn’t find Shadows Of The Empire to be all that good. It felt more an exercise in dancing in place rather than furthering any storytelling. And the Han Solo substitute, Dash Rendar was appallingly bad.

While I can certainly see the connection between the proposed Shadow Of The Empire title and the actions of the First Order. But given that some fans have taken their love of the Expanded Universe and disappointment that it has been set aside in favor of allowing the new filmmakers coming into Star Wars the freedom to chart their own films free from the constraints of twenty-some years of book and comics continuity a bit too far, I am glad that we have not given them one more thing to be a buzzkill about at this exciting time when the franchise has come roaring back into the zeitgeist.

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About Rich Drees 7040 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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